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Cole Hamels Looks To Complete Sweep Of Red Sox This Afternoon

(Sports Network) – The Boston Red Sox came into their big interleague series with the Philadelphia Phillies leading the majors in runs scored.

That is no longer the case after adding just one run to that total in this series.

The Red Sox will try to find some offense and avoid a three-game sweep today in Philadelphia as a pair of aces in Jon Lester and Cole Hamels both go after their 10th victory of the season.

Heading into play on Tuesday, Boston led all teams with 409 runs scored, but were shut out in the opener, 5-0, by Cliff Lee before managing just a single run in last night’s 2-1 setback.

The Phillies, meanwhile, have lowered their major-league leading team earned run average to 2.98.

While it wasn’t a surprise that the former Cy Young Award-winning Lee was able to stymie the Boston offense, the Red Sox have to be a bit concerned that they managed just one run off of unknown hurler Vance Worley, who pitched a career- high seven innings to get the win.

The lone run Worley allowed was on a RBI double to counterpart John Lackey in the fifth inning.

“I think a game like tonight is great for his confidence,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said of Worley.

Lackey’s hit tied the game, but the Red Sox hurler later served up a tiebreaking homer to Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning. Ibanez’s shot sent the Phillies to their third straight victory and sixth in eight games while highlighting a 3-for-3 night at the plate.

It also secured Philadelphia’s first series victory over Boston since 2003 after it had lost 17 of the past 22 to the Red Sox.

Lackey came into the game with a 7.36 ERA and allowed just the two runs over 7 2/3 innings, but got little support from his offense.

“I thought he threw about as good a breaking ball or better than we’ve seen,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I think he felt the same way, got us deep in the game, helped us with his bat. We scored one run. That’s a hard way to win.”

Boston, which now trails the New York Yankees by 2 1/2 games for first place in the American League East, has scored just one run in four of its last past six and has lost six of seven since a 14-2 stretch. Francona tried to shake things up by giving Adrian Gonzalez his second career start in right field to get designated hitter David Ortiz into the lineup at first base. Ortiz, though, went 0-for-4.

The lack of offense could put added pressure on Lester, who has lost consecutive starts for the first time since a string of four straight defeats from July 18-Aug. 4 of last year. Boston has scored just three runs over his current slide.

The 27-year-old lefty gave up four runs — three earned — over eight innings of a loss to the Brewers on June 18, then limited the Pirates to three runs — two earned — on eight hits in six innings on Friday to fall to 9-4 with a 3.66 ERA this season.

Though just 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three interleague starts this season, Lester is 1-0 in two career games versus the Phillies, yielding just one run and striking out 16 over 14 innings.

Things have been similar for Hamels, who has also lost two straight games for the first time this season, getting just one run of support in that span.

The southpaw yielded two runs over 6 1/3 frames of a 2-0 loss at Seattle on June 19 before getting charged with two runs over eight innings of a 4-1 setback to the Athletics on Saturday.

“It’s nice to go eight innings, but I wish I could be more precise,” Hamels said after dropping to 9-4 in 16 starts with a 2.49 ERA that ranks third in the NL.

Hamels, 27, has won all three of his career starts against Boston, posting a 1.71 ERA in that span.